Mites- HELP!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by crunchyfarmbaby, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. crunchyfarmbaby

    crunchyfarmbaby New Egg

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    May 5, 2013
    Long story short, our poor free rangers have been stuck in their coop for about two weeks straight due to the tremendous cold we've been experiencing lately. It appears in this time they've gotten a nasty infestation of mites. It's our first experience with parasites in our flock so I'm a bit clueless (and terrified the more I read). We lost a rooster last night - we found him with frozen feet and he appeared just.... ill. I now realize his feet had been severely damaged by what I'm assuming is scaly leg mites. His feathers were not harmed and none of the birds appear to have them damaging their feathers. You can however see them all over the birds. :-/

    Also- hubby forgot to change his shirt after handling the rooster and we are now all itchy and I'm assuming have brought them into the house. Awesome.

    Anyway- what's my best method of killing these things, taking winter into account? It's not really practical for me to bring 30+ birds one by one into my house for a foot bath. Not to mention putting them back outside in subzero temps after a bath can't be good. Is there anything we can do directly in the coop?? Tea tree oil? DE? Vaseline? If I see them on the tops of the feathers (and we've seen them on the eggs), are they actually scaly leg mites?

    Any advice appreciated!
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict


    You are dealing with two different kinds of mites, so two different treatments will need to be implemented. Some people use Ivermectin that is placed on the bird's skin in drops and that will take care of both problems but I've never used it and am not a fan of systemic types of insecticides. Plus, you can't treat the roosts and house with Ivermectin, so it's a bird only treatment.

    A cheap solution for the scale mites that is very effective is castor oil, typically used as a laxative and sold at pretty much any pharmacy. It's an old remedy and cheap, safe to use and will also soothe the pain/discomfort your rooster is experiencing. Just massage it thickly and well up under and into the scales all the way into the base of the feathers on the leg. Make sure to work it into all surfaces and it would be wise to treat all the birds, even those that do not show signs or symptoms. Usually just takes one treatment and just give it time...it's in place and working well. If a particularly bad case you might want to repeat the treatment on those birds in a couple of weeks just to sooth their pain and reapply the oil.

    For the poultry skin mites, you can purchase some permethrin powder at any Lowe's or garden center and just dust the birds thoroughly and also the roosts, the walls near the roosts, the nest boxes and lay a light layer down on the bedding or floor of the coop. I'm not a fan of the more chemical version of the more natural pyrethrin powder but it is more available and cheaper than the original. You need something fast and effective and this stuff is both~Sevin is not, so don't waste your time or money on the stuff.

    It's a very fine dust and it will get all over you and whatever surface you do this on or place you do it in if you are really dusting the birds well,so try to have a face mask over your mouth and nose and just take a quick shower after you are done....you will need it. Some folks advise to dust them in a pillow case but I don't trust it will get into all the crannies with that method.

    You can set yourself up a nice work station outside of the coop or inside if your coop is big enough~a card table is nice or the tailgate of a truck. Take them off the roost at night and let them hang by their feet until they are calm if they get too excited. If they are fine, just lay them on their backs, hold the feet and just take handfuls of the powder and work it up under their feathers, starting at the vent and working forward, get well under the wings and don't forget to get the head real well and under the ear flaps. Then, still holding the feet, roll them to one side and work it under all the feathers on their backs and the back of the neck, paying special attention to the base of the tail. Often they will flap when you pick them back up after this dusting~hence the need for the face mask and the shower and change of clothes directly after dusting poultry.

    Dust the roosts and coop the next day.

    As for having them on your bodies....I've never this kind of bird mite but I found a site that details all sorts of things for it and has some good info from what I can tell. http://www.birdmites.org/

    But here's some good news in the last line of this quote from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health:

    Quote:
     
  3. crunchyfarmbaby

    crunchyfarmbaby New Egg

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    May 5, 2013
    Thanks for the super helpful reply. The good news for us at least is that we already don't feel the "itchiness" as much, so hopefully the quick response to the ones that came inside took care of it.

    Question- is the powder you're referring to the same or similar enough to DE? I have a huge tub of food-grade DE that we used last year to treat our dogs for fleas.
     
  4. crunchyfarmbaby

    crunchyfarmbaby New Egg

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    May 5, 2013
    Also- is there any reason to discard eggs during the treatment period?
     
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    It's not the same, one is a mechanical insecticide and the other is a chemical one. For big infestations like yours you might need to pull out the big guns....DE is not a big gun, though I would recommend it over chemicals for light parasite infestations. Permethrine is used on humans in a liquid form when they have scabies, so not sure how you feel about topical chemical pesticides but you are going to absorb it topically anyway when you do your dusting, most likely. It will be up to you if you want to discard eggs but I don't know that I've ever heard of a withdrawal time for permethrin.

    You can use the DE first if you'd like to see if it will be effective but many report it's not for big time infestations and it most likely won't kill any eggs.
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    X2. In fact with an infestation like that I wouldn't even bother with DE. You need something that is going to work NOW. Make sure you continue to re-treat the birds and the coop as well every 7 to 10 days until you no longer see mites. And then maybe a few more times lol! Mites can be SO hard to get rid of. You need to really get the powder or spray into all the nooks and crannies in the coop. Miss a few bugs and they repopulate quickly.
     

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